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2021 World Credit Union Conference Opens with Emphasis on Digital Transformation

The first all-virtual World Credit Union Conference welcomed 1,100 attendees from more than 30 countries.

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Tuesday 23 January 2024

The first all-virtual World Credit Union Conference welcomed 1,100 attendees from more than 30 countries.

World Council Board Chair Rafał Matusiak, who also serves as President of Poland’s National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU), welcomed attendees by thanking them for serving as financial first responders for their members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope the next week is full of new ideas, networking and sharing the spirit of credit unions,” said Matusiak. “Together we are stronger, more agile and more effective.”

The first day focused on the digital future credit unions must prepare for going forward.

Greg Verdino, a Business Futurist & Digital Transformation Expert, delivered the 2021 World Credit Union Conference’s first keynote speech, focusing on what he calls the “never normal” atmosphere credit unions now face due to the pandemic.

Verdino explained that COVID-19 ended normality as we know it, but instead of entering a new normal, he believes we should plan on facing a “never normal” that will feature a pace of change that has never existed before that will require each credit union to build a foundation for a change-ready, future-proof organisation.

“All leaders need to embrace ambiguity, not merely tolerate it—lean into it,” said Verdino. “Commit to acting in the face of imperfect information, commit to experimenting in the face of uncertain outcomes.”

Acknowledging that new, online-only financial service organisations are here to stay and will peel off a sector of consumers is part of the ambiguity credit unions must embrace and navigate, according to Verdino.

“How does a credit union remain relevant if the future of banking is no banks? What are some of the ways that you could create value for that new generation of customers,” asked Verdino, saying those are the types of questions credit unions must be able to answer if they are going to be successful going forward.

WCUC 2021’s opening day messaging on digital transformation complements the World Council’s Challenge 2025 initiative, which seeks to establish the digital transformation of the global credit union system by 2025.

The 2021 World Credit Union Conference runs through Wednesday, July 21. Follow conference activities on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and post your own with #wcuc2021.

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